Above: Menachem Joseph "Yossi" Levitin
Another Member Of Chabad-Hasid-Led Mortgage Fraud Ring Sentenced
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Charles Lesser, a member of a mortgage fraud ring headed by prominent Chabad hasid Joseph “Yossi” Levitin, was sentenced to prison last week in New Haven, Connecticut, the New Haven Independent reported.
Lesser, a mortgage broker and loan officer, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. He must also pay about $900,000 in restitution to his victims.
Seven other members of the ring previously received sentences of as much as five years in prison.
Lesser could have served as much as 63 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. But his attorney, James Ross Smart, told the court Lesser should be judged less harshly because of his long record of civic involvement and religious studies.
“[Lesser’s] rehabilitation, significant life-long civic engagement and good works, and his deep and essential involvement in the care, support upbringing of his large, young family” should reduce his sentence, Smart wrote in sentencing memorandum, which also reportedly cited Lesser’s religious observance, his years of yeshiva study, as well as his work with the local hevra kadisha (Jewish burial society) as reasons to reduce his sentence.
Despite the sentencing guidelines and his clear intent to defraud, Levitin was previously sentenced to only 22 months in prison. Levitin had made at least at least $700,000 from the fraud, Lesser’s attorney argued, while Lesser only made about $41,316.33. This, too, should reduce Lesser’s sentence, his attorney claimed.
Levitin’s sentencing break was given because he cooperated with the government and helped convict the other ring members, including those he had personally recruited into the fraud.